Holiday Baking – HANUKKAH Desserts – Sufganiyot

My first real corporate job was at Hewlett-Packard at the Mountain View, CA, campus – A  campus that is long retired and relocated. I worked as a Systems Admin typing up loads of code and extracting data from over 50 databases worldwide. This data was used to generate a Knowledge Data-Base (KdB) which would become the foundation and basis for the world’s most helpful FAQs and support centers. I tell you this, because I worked in a global team. A team that expanded beyond the small geographies of my neighborhoods and experiences. A large portion of my team was Jewish, actually, Israeli. They introduced me to the traditions and wonders of Hanukkah by bringing in homemade baked good after homemade baked good of donuts or Sufganiyot, rugelach and various delicious cookies. Some of these recipes were shared with me and I am very happy to share them here. They range from the time intensive to the easy as pie. All of them are delicious, rich in history and in flavor. And of course, KOSHER.

Sufganiyot - Hannukah Desserts #thecharmingkitchenloveshannukah
These Israeli deep-fried delights are doughnuts commemorating the miracle of the burning oil lamps in the ancient Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Their root is Greek, “sufgan” meaning “puffy and fried.”


  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 5 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup plus a pinch granulated sugar
  • 1 cup warm milk or water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil or melted vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 1/4 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 2 cups jam or jelly of your choice, at room temperature
  • Granulated or confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling or dusting


  • Stand mixer with dough hook
  • Deep fryer
  • Cookie sheet
  • Paper towels
  • Brown paper bag
  • Pastry bag or Pastry Filler with long tip
  • Head resistant tongs
  • Slatted spoon
  • Saran wrap
  • Clean tea towel


  1. Stir together the warm water, yeast, and the pinch of sugar in a large bowl. Allow the mixture to stand for a couple of minutes – just enough for the yeast to swell. In a stand mixer with dough hook, combine the remaining sugar, the milk, vanilla, eggs, oil or shortening, salt, and as much of the flour as needed to create a soft dough that is firm and a bit elastic.
  2. Prepare a greased bowl, place the dough inside and  cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. You can refrigerate or let the dough stand for 1 hour to rise. If refrigerated, keep it for no longer than 24 hours in the frigerator.
  3. Once room temperature and/or risen, kneed/punch and roll the dough until it is firm and contains no air
  4. Form small balls of dough by pinching them off and rolling with your hands. Be patient, because you will need to let these sit.  Cover the sufganiyot with a clean tea towel and rest dough for 20-30 minutes.
  5. Heat 4 inches of oil in your deep fryer to about 385°F (196°C)
  6. Prepare your draining pan with paper-towels to drain once the dough is fried
  7. Make sure your deep fryer is ready by testing a pinch of flattened dough. It’s like testing it for your other fried pastries – it should be golden on the outside and cooked on the inside. (Remember it continues to cook while cooling…)
  8. Once oil is consistent and you understand fry time, add 3-4 sufganiyot to the hot oil and fry to perfection. Don’t forget to turn them to cook evenly.
  9. Lift the sufganiyot out with a slotted spoon shaking off grease and drain them well on your prepared draining pan lined with paper towels.
  10. Take a pastry bag filled with jam and squeeze into the donut until it is filled as desired.
  11. Take your brown paper bag filled with sugar and shake the donuts inside.
  12. Use pastry filler to fill donuts with jelly. You can also use the tip of a spoon to make a small indentation in the top of each sufganiyot and spoon in a little jam or jelly if you prefer them lightly sweetened.


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